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tv   Parker Spitzer  CNN  December 30, 2010 8:00pm-9:00pm EST

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>> reporter: thank you so much. watch out pour the truck. he's putting me in the truck. well, there you go, joe. people are helping people 0 out there but as you know new year's eve here in new york and there's a lot of snow still out there in the streets, joe johns. >> i'm amazed i haven't fallen yet. i thought i was going to fall. thanks so much, pete on the street. that's all from us tonight. "parker spitzer" starts right now. good evening. i'm kathleen parker. >> and i'm eliot spitzer. welcome to the program. kathleen, tonight's top story, the end of the year 2010 has been the worst year in afghanistan yet over nine years of war, casualties mounting, going up at a rapid clip. we've spoken to a lot of smart people, the experts about that war and you know what, kathleen, i still don't know why we're there. the terrorists, al qaeda in particular, have left afghanistan, they've gone to
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pa pakistan, yemen and somalia. this is a tragedy. it's not clear to me why we are fighting a war the way we are sacrificing human lives. we should be out of there. we should be out right now. >> you are not the only person for him it's not clear. people are confused why we're still there nine years later. al qaeda has moved on and dispersed to other countries. let's hope we have a different story to tell. one of the smart people we kaukd to is gary bernstein, a former cia officer who has spent a lot of time on the ground in afghanistan and the region. he has more than 21 years of experience and is an expert in counterterrorism and was in torah bora. we talked about that and the ongoing search for bin laden. take a look. >> he's a problem. he's still out there. we still have to do our best to capture him. the problem is that pakistan has 175 million people. over 20 militant groups. over 900,000 people.
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there's infrastructure that he can hide within. there are tribal groups that will hide him. if he is still actually even in that area and hasn't moved on to yemen. it's a problem for us and it's something we're going to continue to work at and eventually we'll have success on this. eventually. but i know it's disappointing. it's almost ten years. >> but what exactly will be the benefit of catching bin laden and killing him? >> it'll be symbolic at that point. al qaeda has morphed over the years. in a place like pakistan, it's almost like a coordinating body among the militant organizations. it provides training to them. it will send operatives in with militants to teach them how to create ieds. >> and by killing him do we defeat the idea or at least degrade it? >> anyone who can execute an operation that kills 3,000 americans has to be captured and is going to have to be tried and executed. and at a principle because we
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owe them and those that lost their lives. >> you said he's hiding. is he hiding or is he being protected? and the difference is not one without significance in my view. if he's being protected by forces within the pakistani government, the isi, whoever it may be, that creates an entirely different set of issues for us with respect to pakistan and afghanistan. which do you think it is? >> there's a gray area in there. do they really want him? did they want him in the beginni beginning? why haven't they captured mullah omar and turned him over? this is something they should do immediately and that would help us and provide great assistance to us in terms of the fight where americans are dying. >> this goes to the very heart of the problem i think so many people have with our policies in afghanistan and consequently in pakistan. we don't know who our partners are. we know who they pretend to be. the pakistani government, karzai over in afghanistan, there is such doubt about whether we can rely upon them the moment we either withdraw troops or start giving them hard, cold cash.
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what are they? are they partners? and if they aren't, is there a future there? >> part of the problem is with the creation of pakistan almost immediately they were conducting insurgency inside kashmir. the individuals that managed that organization was born running insurgencies and doing -- conducting violent types of operations. and they've continued throughout their history. they had a love affair with kashmir militancy which blended over into working with the afghans and the taliban when control was lost in afghanistan by -- this was during the period of time. so americans have misjudged the pakistanis at a time we were helping them fight, you know, the soviets, they were siphoning off large amounts of that aide and using it to train to kill. they are not reliable partners completely. they've gotten better. you have to continue to maintain pressure on the pakistanis but the problem with pakistan is the 0 nuclear weapons.
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and the one thing we don't want to have happen is a collapse of a failed state and loss of control of that arsenal. >> can we go back -- go ahead. >> i was going to ask your view of our place in afghanistan and our progress to this point. of course one of the main arguments we don't want the taliban to regain strength and create a safe haven for al qaeda. is the taliban getting stronger? >> i think that the report the obama administration put out, accurate in the sense we've made some gains. i've been in afghanistan constantly. i had a son who finished with the 82nd airborne and from discussions with him, too, i can see where there's been improvement, certain areas there hasn't been. most americans didn't understand how heavy this lift was going to be. where saddam hussein had trained a generation of teachers, engineers, people like that to help him seize control of the middle east. he was a power hungry man. afghanistan has had a complete collapse of civil society. afghans, there was a recent survey done in afghanistan among 1,000 young men from the age of
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18 to 20 or 29 or 30 or so, and 90% of them never heard of 9/11. they don't know why we're there. >> that is stunning. >> 40% think americans are there to destroy islam and another 70% think we don't respect islam. we have failed in the public policy war there. >> how do we turn that around? >> the state department has to do that. part of the problem is they want to throw everything on the u.s. military. state's responsibility. >> here is what i don't understand. an effort at nation building and though we don't want to call it that, that's what we're doing in afghanistan. yet we haven't even begun, it seems to me, as you just said to persuade the public in afghanistan that we are there and we are their partners and if we don't cross that emotional divide, we will never succeed. >> that's the most fundamental piece of this that we've missed. this poll was taken in november 2010. in the first three or four years that we lost, when we went into iraq, we did lose the first few years. we didn't have programs we were providing literacy training.
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we missed the first couple of years because we got stuck in iraq. >> here is what i don't get, the president says over and over again we're not involved in nation building. you can't use those words. you're saying we can't win unless we get involved in nation building. we're not putting enough resources in to succeed at nation building but we're not withdrawing the resources because we're not involved. we seem to be stuck in a neter world, neither success nor failure. does this make sense to you? >> we can't flee afghanistan because the taliban would record and al qaeda with them. they have a sim simbiotic relati relationship. we have to help them deal with issues that are critical. simultaneously draw down traditional troops this the u.s. military and have a larger special operations community footprint there. >> what is wrong with the strategy that goes to counter ter richl is this your specialty says, look, we will use special ops, the high tech stuff.
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go right out, al qaeda, and do it in a surgical way rather than the nation building. >> look, on the other side of the border in pakistan, you have the taliban/pakistan. but they all cross over and they're all fighting on the ground. we're fighting against not just the taliban but multiple number of groups. >> they come in and participate and go back home and take a nap. >> will nation building in afghanistan getting there? >> we have to do both. and, sadly, the late richard holbrooke, understood this. we need an af/pak/india solution. the entire problem shadows over this and it increases pakistani paranoia when they see indian involvement in afghanistan. this is part of this. this is all part of this, too. >> our concerns about al qaeda coming back into afghanistan, as legitimate as they are, how do we fight the battle in yemen and
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northern africa and other places and they can keep popping up and re-inventing themselves? i don't know how many hundreds of second in commands we've killed and yet they keep reproducin reproducing. >> the cia and the clandestine service is a very small organization. the d.o. should be double the size, the director of operations. you probably have, you know, one-fifth or one-tenth the number compared to the fbi officers that are covering the united states. it's a very small organization. we need to invest in intelligence and diplomacy. we need to do those sorts of things. the entire burden cannot always fall on the military. they catch a lot of heat unnecessarily and they're asked to do more than they should be doing. >> okay. if you could in one sentence say what our policy should be for clarity because it's one of these things -- >> we need to create an afghanistan that -- or assist afghanistan to get to the point they can help defend themselves. we can have a significant drawdown of forces by 2014.
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i'm glad the administration has moved back it to 2014. that is possibly achievable. and recognize that we need to have much, much lower number of troops on the ground. we cannot afford this. if you look at the economy in the united states, can we afford what we're spending in afghanistan? no, we cannot over the long h l haul. we have to reduce that. and we've already spent enough in blood and, you know, blood and treasure. we need to be thinking about the fastest way to put this thing together,a secure way, so that we can exit that theater and leave it where it has a modicum of stability. we're not here to build jeffersonian democracy. lurking. a heart attack that's caused by a clot, one that could be fatal. but plavix helps save lives. plavix, taken with other heart medicines, goes beyond what other heart medicines do alone, to provide greater protection against heart attack or stroke and even death by helping to keep blood platelets from sticking together and forming dangerous clots. ask your doctor if plavix is right for you.
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the rise led to the repub c republican sweep this year. there was this ideal pushed by the tea party one had to have ideological purity mord to hold office. if you weren't conservative enough, you couldn't be in power. one of the victims of this was congressman bob english from my home state of south carolina. he refused, for example, to call president obama a muss lynn. he refused to say he wasn't american and he lost the election because of it. he is a rational conservative. >> all right, kathleen. there are a couple of rational conservatives out there and we had the congressman on the show, a decent guy. we asked him about losing the election and his experience with the fringe. you ran into the buzz saw of hard right politics.
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what lesson do you take from that about the future of our political structure? >> i think what's going to have to happen is at some point we're going to have to pick up the mirror and look in it. take a real honest, hard look at ourselves and say we have found the problem and the problem is us. i believe that america's best days are still ahead. that's ronald reagan conservatism. right now we have a populism that's not really like the conservatism of reagan. reagan was an optimist. this is more of a -- it's all gone to pot. the country is done for. we have to get through this period. >> and your dealings with the tea party contingent in south carolina, you have been -- one of the problems was you refused to call president obama a socialist. you actually told your constituents to turn off glenn beck. that got you in a good bit of hot water. can you tell us about that? >> yeah, you know, really if you
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boil it right down what it's a lot about is just the sense that i didn't join in the real bitterness to the president. i don't call him a socialist because he's not. i don't doubt that he was born in hawaii because he was. i don't call him a muslim because he says he's a christian. and i didn't say anything about death panels because there weren't any in that health care bill. so i believe you're going to lead a credible conservative movement you have to start with credible information. and if you try to sell people on a scapegoat and say it's the president's fault we have a structural deficit, how can that be? he's been around for two years. it's been around for decades. how could it possibly be his fault? the reality is the president is a handsome, articulate, brilliant fellow. i just disagree with him on a lot of policy issues. but i don't need to join in the hatred of the man. what i need to do is say we have
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better ideas. i'm a conservative with better ideas, and i can serve the country by presenting those ideas and being credible not attacking him. remember bill clinton said one year at a prayer breakfast, the most violated commandment in washington, d.c., is the ninth, thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor. there's a lot of that going on right now. >> can you give us a specific instance where you felt pressure to do that, to turn on the president and say things that -- you know, to bear false witness, in other words? >> yeah, for example, about 25 people there. a guy stands up and he says the president is so unpatriotic. he doesn't even put his hand over his heart when the national anthem is played or when the pledge is recited. and i'm standing there and i'm thinking, i know what i need to do if i want to win this primary. i'm supposed to say what do you expect out of a socialist or someone not born in america. but i just couldn't, wouldn't -- so i just said, you know, that's
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just not true. i've been with the president. i've seen him put his hand over his heart. it's just not true. the man is a patriotic american who loves the country, loves his wife, loves his kids. afterwards -- i went on to say i just disagreed with him. this operative came up and said don't give him that. >> don't give the president that? >> yeah. and of course i'm thinking how are we going to get to these hard things, like i was complimenting paul ryan on having a great plan for fixing medicare, medicaid and social security. how are we going to get to that if we're embroiled in this mosh pit about whether he's a socialist and a secret muslim and whatever when we should be saying, listen, you disagree with him. we conservatives have better ideas that will really work. but we don't need to attack him
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as a person. all that negative kind of disastrous kind of mauling of one another. >> i just want to say i think it's sad that you will not be going back to washington in january. you're exactly the kind of voice we need there. but before we let you go, what are your plans for the future? >> well, i don't know that. can i give out a phone number and see if there is is somebody out there interested. >> absolutely. >> i hope there's an opportunity for me in that alternative energy sector. that's what i'm very excited about. it would be exciting for me to move from something i've loved which is being in congress to something i could love even more which is actually delivering products to customers. that's what's available to us as entrepreneurs across america. it's available to us as a country if we just get this good policy in place. >> all right, congressman
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inglis, a great conversation. thanks so much for joining us. we'll be right back. [ male announcer ] this isn't a country where plans made at 9... necessarily apply at 5. this is america, man. home of the highway... last minute detours and spontaneous acts of freedom. ♪ we're wanderers. wayfarers. even nomads. so doesn't it just make sense that we build an electric car... that goes...far. really far. ♪
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our person of interest today is a controversial author with a global reputation as a skep it particular on climate change. a business professor and founder of the copenhagen consensus center. he argues the consequences of climate change are vastly exaggerated and that money spent on climate change policy would
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be more effective used to fight malaria eradication or water sanitation. his views are exploited in "cool it." let's take a look. science has been hijacked by alarmists and the public are given to believe they are to blame. >> we started washing our clothes with stones. >> energy efficient light bulbs. >> to recycle more. drive hybrids. >> by all means, let's do them but let's not kid ourselves and believe this is what's going to fix the problem. >> welcome bjorn. thank you for joining us. you're the anti-al gore. >> not so much anti as post-al are gore. he was good at getting our attention. he scared the pants off of us and that's not a good way to go down if you are going to make good decisions. >> is it man made? >> it is man made and it is a problem we need to tackle. we aren't tackling it very well
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and we haven't been tackling it for 20 years and to a very large extent because we're so panicked that we can't think straight about this and we are proposing grand carbon cuts which sound good but honestly don't do anything. >> as i understand it, and correct me if i'm wrong, you are saying you made a dollar andal sis in our language and that if you are to get the best results from your spending limited resources, you would do better to, for example, provide drinking water for people in subsahara africa, right? that doesn't change the fact that global warming exists. so i'm not sure. you might go in, i'm going to put plumbing in your house and give you water. you have until 6:00 p.m. to enjoy it. that's when the earthquake comes or the tsunami or whatever. how does that work? >> there's two parts to this. first of all, remember, three-fourths of the world's population have much more important things to deal with. and so we should help them with those issues. but that doesn't mean, as you say, we shouldn't fix global warming but we should fix it
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smartly. we're spending hundreds of billions of dollars to do virtually no good. the only policy on the books is the eu 2020 policy. if we actually go through with that, which i think the eu will do, we'll be spending $250 billion every year for the rest of the century. and do you know what the impact is? we'll reduce temperatures by 0.1 degree farp height. so we're essentially spending $20 trillion and we won't be able to tell the difference. >> can we agree -- it seems to me we have a large area of consensus here but a vast area of disagreement about what we should do. the consensus is it's man made. temperatures are rising. water level is going to rise. co2 is pouring in at a rate unheard of historically and causing this and the only question we're debating right now is what to do. >> yes. >> at two to three feet you would still have significant global consequences for bangladesh, for instance. >> there are two points to
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remember. one is to say we can adapt to many of these things and certainly the real question to bangladesh is do we want to make them rich now and be able to deal with this or want to reduce by a little bit in 100 years. >> let me ask this question. take as a given if we can save 50 kids tomorrow by spending one dollar or spend a dollar and have no consequences, people would say save the 50 kids. i think to a certain extent that's a false choice because we're not making the choice between hiv research or food for starving kids. these are separate areas of spending that we're talking about. we're not in the tradeoff context. >> the global fund for tuberculosis, malaria and hiv actually tell us they have seen declining levels of investment because of global warming. this is what we're focused on. there's many other things we don't focus quite as much on. if you will allow me, the real point is not to say that we
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shouldn't deal with global warming but to say we are not right now. so when people are saying, no, no, let's make these grand promises for 2100 we don't do them. there's a simple reason why. it's very costly to cut carbon emissions right now. that's why we should make it cheaper. >> let me ask you something. in your book upon which your documentary is based, you use examples -- you have several examples of things that make you feel good and do good. in the case of polar bears, that's the iconic image of what we most fear will happen. i think there are more than there have ever been. we'll leave that to sarah palin. under the feel good which is you have written up here kyoto you would save 0.06 and if you do good you would save 49 polar bears. how does that work? >> and that's just for one area. let's take it for the whole north pole. if we all did the kyoto protocol
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which is more than we've ever managed to do, we would save one polar bear a year. that's nice for a couple hundred billion dollars. we shoot 300 to 500 polar bears every year so i'm pointing out why don't we talk about stop shooting 300 polar bears? >> bjorn, don't you feel -- and when i read your stuff and watched the movie and, yes, you make a powerful cost benefit analysis but it reminded me very much, and i hope you'll be flattered by this, it reminded me of you playing the role of ben bernanke who in the midst of the subprime crisis in '07 said, and let me quote, the troubles in the market for risky mortgages thus far don't appear to be spreading to the overall economy. he was saying, don't worry. it's a small little problem. we have time to deal with it and, of course, then it metastasized in a way that brought destruction to the whole world economy. isn't the possibility that this is the same situation, sufficient to say we should do something really dramatic? >> let me just take -- i'm not going to go into the quote.
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i'm just going to take a little look at the global warming argument. right now al gore and everyone else have had 20 years to prove their policy and they've done nothing. i'm simply saying if you actually care about this issue, why on earth should we not try to find a different, much smarter way going down this failed road? and so i'm saying let's invest dramatically more in research and development because fundamentally as long as solar panels cost ten times as much as fossil fuels, a few rich, well meaning westerners will put them up on rooftops. if we can make solar panels cheaper, we would solve global warming. >> totally agree. >> the trick here is because we focus so much on cutting carbon emissions we spend less not more on investment, research and development. >> it seems to me given the risk we should do both. >> but we haven't done one of them and we're cutting carbon emissions because it's costly. every time you spend a dollar on cutting carbon emissions which
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is fairly costly, it means you can spend less on research and development. if you can find $100 billion, i would rather not see us saying let's spend $50 billion smartly and let's spend $50 billion poorly. let's spend all of the $100 billion on research and development because ultimately you will only get china to cut costs if it is cheaper. >> kyoto is going nowhere. cap and trade seems to be going nowhere. if you could pick one research area, what would it be? >> this is exactly what i don't want because politicians love to pick a favorite project. >> you're not being fair. i'm not saying the politician. if you had $1 to spend and had to do the cost benefit, where would you put it? >> fortunately i don't have just one. >> you have two. >> at least a couple billion dollars. and because researchers are cheap, you should spread it across all the different areas because most of the areas are not going to work out. some of them will and those are
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the ones that will be powering the 21st century. so we should be careful not to pick winners but exactly fund all of these areas. >> now you are saying what i was saying before on the other side. because the cat clis hick risk is so great, do it all. >> i would argue there's a difference because we don't know which of these technologies will work out, which is why we need to fund a vast array of them. >> i want to ask you the last technical question. what's your next project? >> honestly, this is a discussion we haven't gotten right for 20 years. i think i'm probably going to be staying here for a while before we get this right. >> thank you so much, bjorn. we appreciate you joining us. >> thank you.
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joining us now is leo gerard, the president of the united steelworkers union, the largest in america. it used to have 1.2 million members. mao it's down to 775,000. but beneath those numbers is another story. leo gerard knows how to do deals. he knows how to work with the steel industry to save an industry that was back on its heels that was dying and so even though there are fewer members now and those members have taken pay cuts, he has saved hundreds of thousands of jobs here in the united states. here to discuss how he did it and how he sees our economy moving forward, leo gerard. leo, thank you for joining us tonight. >> earlier the union, the industry, was back on its heels. you worked with the employers, with the companies themselves to craft deals to bring things back. how did you do that? what were the givebacks and is
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that a model for other sectors? >> well, what we did is that we ended up as a result of a flood of unfairly traded steel and there was no doubt about that. we formed an alliance with the industry to file trade cases to defend what we had. we then worked with the industry to find a way to do what we called humane consolidation. there were too many steel companies that were all too small and none could set a price and what they did was tried to kill each other. the only people they disliked more than us was each other and so they tried to kill each other. we brought them all in a room and said, look, you can't do this. we helped. we worked with some wall street folks like wilbur ross and we helped bring about a consolidation of the industry. we helped u.s. steel acquire national steel. we helped acquire bethlehem. >> a lot were on the verge of bankruptcy. >> they were pretty much all on the verge of bankruptcy. >> and ross brought them out of
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bankruptcy, put them together into a consolidated company. >> and what people didn't understand and still don't, it wasn't about the consolidation alone. it wasn't about concessions. what we, in fact, did was we refined the way we did the work and we went from 32 job descriptions to five. >> explain that because i think people need to understand how you simplified the process itself. >> we simplified the process. we got lots of management out of the way. we gave our membership more right to make determinations and, for example, if you were an operator, you could order your own parts. before you had to go through a scheduler who went through a purchasing guy and maybe you got the parts two weeks later. so we reorganized the way work is done. we took out layers and layers of management. we then had, because no fault of our own we lost pension and health care benefits through the bankruptcy. we negotiated voluntary employee benefit for a benefit program, but we based them on profits. so for every -- if the company
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was making not very much, it put just the bare minimum. if the company was making a lot, it had to put more in. >> you became partners with the owners of the company? >> in that regard. they made more profit. that went in to fund the health care in a bigger chunk. to give you an example, the last quarter of 2008 just as the economy was sinking, our members in a couple of steel companies got over $10 an hour in profit sharing for that quarter. by the time we got to the second quarter of 2009, they got zero. the economy tanked. but you know what? they still had their health care, their benefits, and they had their jobs but they had all of those things that we prepaid when profits were good. >> right. so the notion is simplified the organizational structure, put decision making where it should have been in the first place. gave up something on the health care side that is a consequence the company was able to compete. >> that's right. and still to this day we have
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the most productive steel industry in the world. >> per capita? >> per worker, per capita. we can make steel on average and most of our steel plants one man-hour per ton. the rest is at 2 1/2 and 3. russia and china are still at 20. >> now can you take this model, what you've done, and extrapolate that, use that in other sectors where we are being beaten up by foreign competition? >> i think that we need to -- in the case of what happened in the steel industry, i think it's slightly different than what's happened in other industries. maybe a lot more similar, though, to general motors, ford and chrysler because they're mature industries that had peaks of high employment and as those industries got more productive, people went on to the retiree health care role. so you take general motors as an example, there were almost a million retirees, 79 ohio were supporting. can't work that way. and the reason that's the case is it takes us back to health
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care. america is the only major industrialized country where if your retirees are going to retire, the only way they can have health care is if the employer pays for it. the rest of the world you retire at that age of 60. you get health care. you lose your job at 58, you have health care. only in america does that not hold true. >> we will have to continue this conversation some other time. you are a union leader who sounds like an investment banker and that's a good thing. you know how to make deals so your employees and your members have jobs. >> i don't want to be like some of those investment bankers. >> neither do i. keep doing exactly what you've been doing. leo gerard, thanks so much for being here.
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terrence hayes was born in columbia, south carolina, a place close to my heart. another poet praises the unblinking truth telling just beneath his lines, the open and generous way he takes in our world. not bad from another poet.
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his latest collection won the national book award for poetry. a south carolinian. >> that's rare especially in new york. >> especially a poet. >> surrounded by two word smiths here. i was a mediocre politician. >> i think you've done well. >> you think poetry and politics actually have something in common. in this day and age how does that work? >> we have quite a bit in common. if you are trying to convince people you are worth being heard that's something all artists run into, poets run into to shape a language and what do you want to tell people to make them interested in your methods and, of course, that's something that politicians deal with often. how are you going to shape a message and engage people. >> terrence, poetry has this kind of a stigma attached to it. it seems more and more something that takes place in coffeehouses. how do we make poetry more popular? how do we bring it back? >> if you're a poet, it's pretty popular. there are so many insular worlds. i'm pleased with the number of people i engage that are reading poems and thinking about poems, in particular even with this prize. the love i receive from so many
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people suggest that there are people reading and there are people that care about what we do. >> do we have any politicians who are poets? >> there's an interesting question. we have those who are writers including our president. i don't know about politicians who are poets. no one knew i was a poet for a long time. >> not literally poets but any whose use of language is so eloquent you look at them and say they could have been a poet, they write with a grace, they write with a sensibility that you think borders on artistry? >> sometimes you hear a great speech and you go, now that was poetry. >> abraham lincoln? >> there we go. >> that's a dismal statement. >> it might be a reflection of the culture. i think our general relationship has changed. so someone that thinks about it as a kind of a material to shape is a rare thing. >> how about president obama? certainly some of his speeches, his books, he gets high praise. is that only because he's being compared to other politicians or do you read them and say they actually are crafted?
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>> for sure. absolutely. he's a writer. that's one of the most exciting things about having him in office, to have someone who is literary, which is different from being a writer. >> look, i don't want to suggest we set you up with with that. our first literary president and everyone is saying at the same time his communication with the public hasn't worked. how do you square those two? >> i have an opinion about that. i think when you think about the earliest work, the very first book, you know, dreams of my father, and when you think about the leadup to becoming president, i felt like there was a bit more shapeliness to the speech and to the language that he was giving us and that's what inspired us. >> more personal perhaps? >> yeah, for sure. i think there was a response to that where people thought it's just rhetoric. it's just inspiring people which baffled me because i think that, you know, action grows out of language. it grows out of the expression that he gave us. >> is poetry perhaps a voyles of
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dissent? we had this conversation with another artist on the show. when you have an oppressive government, artists are the voice that rises up because other forms of -- other voices are perhaps pushed back. >> sure. >> is poetry, can it fill that void? >> i think it does. most people have a sense of dissengs in them and it just so happens the people can shape the message in the most effective way become our artists. and i think that's one of the relationships between poets and politicians. so it is a voice of dissent but it's mostly because maybe writers and artists know how to craft the message more than them being the individuals who have that message. >> you write a poem about katrina and we will ask to you read it for us. can do you that? >> this goes back to the idea what it means to be an artist. in the time shortly after katrina happened, a very good literary magazine asked me and a b
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bunch of other poets associated with the group i'm familiar with if we could write something about it. it it was many years before i was able to write this poem about katrina and it's called fish head for katrina. >> fish head for at that tree in a. >> the mouth is rather dead who are not dead, do not dream. a house of damaged translations. task, marry to distraction. as in a bucket left in a storm, acquire singing in the rain like fish acquiring air under water. prayer and sin, the body performs to know it is alive. lit from the inside by reckoning as in a city which is no longer a city. the tongue reaching down a tunnel and the teeth wet as windows, set along the highway. where the dead live in the noise of their shotgun houses.
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they drift from their wards like fish spreading thin as a song, diminished by its own opening. split by faith and soaked in it. the mouth is a flooded machine. >> wow, just a few words. great feeling. great, amazing images. it's what poetry dozen. >> thank you. >> it transcends. >> i was in a profession, a lot of words, little meaning. few words and much meaning. i applaud that. >> thank you. >> terrence hayes, thank you for being with us. >> it was an hohn aror. >> i appreciate it. [ male announcer ] this isn't a country where plans made at 9... necessarily apply at 5. this is america, man. home of the highway... last minute detours and spontaneous acts of freedom. ♪ we're wanderers.
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in his new book "scorpions" noah feldman tells the story how a modern relationship between the government and the people was created by four supreme court justices who fought each other at every turn. welcome, noah, and thank you for coming. tell me, who were these justices and what did they do to modern america? >> these were for self-made men with huge ambition, all start as liberals. the two ended up as conservative. appointed by fdr to really change the way our constitution operated and to allow the government to do what the new deal wanted to do. >> a power when there was a vision of the constitution that didn't have any real strength behind the federal government. the government was constrained by it. did they change that fundamental principle? >> completely. in the beginning of fdr's
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presidency was a conservative court that invented constitutional rights for big corporations and the direct result of that was that all of the new deal programs that he and the public wanted were struck down by the supreme court. and roosevelt hated that, as you can imagine. >> and what did he do as a consequence? he basically tried to do a hostile takeover of the supreme court. >> he did. he threatened the supreme court with adding new members and he went to congress and he said i control congress. there's nothing in the constitution -- >> by adding new members, expanding the size from nine to what? >> exactly. he was going to add four people, take it up to 13. and the reason is if the constitution says you have to have a supreme court and people have life tenure but doesn't say anything about how many, the number nine was invented by congress. >> that didn't happen but among the justices he appointed were the four that the write about. who were they? >> the first was hugo black who was a fascinating guy. a cue clux klansman who had become a clklam memben member.
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he knew they would have to confirm him. >> and the other three had similar stories of being self-made individualists with a sense of the power the supreme court needed? >> they did. and they were very controversial in many ways. he attacked big government where he attacked big corporations again and again. frankford. these were controversial people. >> the consequence of this was that fdr appointed by the end of his term all nine members of the supreme court. >> he got nine appointments including a new chief justice which is a record that is very unlikely ever to be matched again. >> and the supreme court then, which began, as you said, with a very conservative constrained view of federal power gave him enormous latitude and the federal government became what it is today. >> he got the main thing he wanted, a court that believed the federal government could pass laws. they could regulate the economy. they could regulate wages and hours of workers and regulate
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wall street. >> and safety and the environment and all of the other things that we've seen between world war ii and the new deal and the present moment? >> they're all against the backdrop of the supreme court allowing those kinds of things. it is really possible because of the vision that these four justices brought to the supreme court of the constitution. >> that's right. >> we are about to see this potentially be flipped on its head. we have a very conservative court right now. we have chief justice roberts. alito, scalia, thomas, maybe kennedy hanging out there as a pivot point with cases somewhat like the new deal cases on their way up there and what will happen when the health care legislation gets before the supreme court? >> we have seen some really similar moves recently in which the four conservative justices and kennedy who can go either way, depends on the case, have
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expanded the individual rights of corporations and blocked government regulation and so it is directly parallel to that. the health care bill is being challenged right now in the lower courts and the claim that the conservatives are making is that the health care bill violates individual liberties and that's always the way it's done. to say there are individual liberties at stake when the real rights involving the rights of corporations. >> what's your prediction here? >> a very close case. i predict that health care plan will survive ultimately although we'll see challenges to the financial regulation programs. justice kennedy is not willing to go all the way back to the bad old days when the supreme court blocked major popular legislation. it's a close thing. >> the amazing thing is the world you define in this brilliant book about the personalities of these four justices, they created modern america. >> they shape what we have to an extraordinary degree and their personal relationships were a big part of that because, over time, these guys who starred as liberal allies changed their views and they start to hate
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each other. >> venomous. the name scorpions describes their personal relationship. >> it does. someone who observed the court said there were nine scorpions in a bottle all locked in and all wanting to outdo the others. and through that they achieved their constitutional greatness. >> what we're facing is the potential for what they created to be reversed by the conservatives who are trying to bring us back to a different era of small government? >> i doubt it would go that far but there is a reality that many people who on the conservative side and don't like big government think what went wrong in our country was the supreme court stood by and allowed that to happen and would like to turn it around. >> the issue then is take today's nominees and full disclosure you and i are good friends of elena kagan. where does she fit in this paragon? >> she was never a judge before. none of these four people were judges. eight of the other justices today were judges before. so justice kagan does have that distinctive feature. >> does that help or hurt? >> i think it's a huge plus. i think being a judge,
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especially an appellate judge, is a job someone tells you what to do and you listen. not having that experience means you're less differential. i think that's a plus to start with. i think that on today's court in order to be a powerful voice on the court, you can't be a predictable vote and that's justice o'connor and constituents kennedy. >> talk about being persuasive. she's up against justices from the conservative wing of the current court who are very precise and confirmed views. i can't imagine as persuasive as elena can be, i have a hard time thinking she will persuade justice thomas. >> it's all about the vote, which is 4-4, in which justice kennedy is the person who is going to make the determining decision and justice stevens and kennedy had a good relationship and sometimes it looked as though they were influencing each other. can justice kagan with her very
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good, diplomatic skills, develop that kind of relationship with justice kennedy? >> it's going to be interesting. scorpions. an excerpt on our blog noah feldman, thank you for being here. ♪ an accidental touch can turn ordinary into something more. moments can change anytime -- just like that. and when they do men with erectile dysfunction can be more confident in their ability to be ready with cialis for daily use. cialis for daily use is a clinically proven, low-dose tablet you take every day, so you can be ready anytime the moment is right. tell your doctor about your medical condition and all medications, and ask if you're healthy enough for sexual activity. don't take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, as this may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. [ man ] don't drink alcohol in excess with cialis. side effects may include headache, upset stomach, delayed backache, or muscle ache. to avoid long-term injury, seek immediate medical help for an erection lasting more than 4 hours. if you have any sudden decrease or loss in hearing or vision, stop taking cialis and call your doctor right away.
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